History of fishing

History of fishing

Prehistory

Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic period which began about 40,000 years ago. [ [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/11/1108_bonetool_2.html African Bone Tools Dispute Key Idea About Human Evolution] National Geographic News article.] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5398850.stm Early humans followed the coast] BBC News article.] Archaeological features such as shell middens, [ [http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/middens/index.htm Coastal Shell Middens and Agricultural Origins in Atlantic Europe] .] discarded fish bones and cave paintings show that sea foods were important for survival and consumed in significant quantities. During this period, most people lived a hunter-gather lifestyle and were, of necessity, constantly on the move. However, where there are early examples of permanent settlements (though not necessarily permanently occupied) such as those at Lepenski Vir, they are almost always associated with fishing as a major source of food.

Spearfishing with barbed poles (harpoons) was widespread in palaeolithic times. [Guthrie, Dale Guthrie (2005) [http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=3u6JNwMyMCEC&pg=PA298&lpg=PA298&dq=Cosquer+spear+fish&source=web&ots=JMnNQj1gPu&sig=2SgDhCZyGrWWNpMXz9y0DLSWmuE&hl=en#PPA298,M1 "The Nature of Paleolithic Art."] Page 298. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226311260] Cosquer cave in Southern France contains cave art over 16,000 years old, including drawings of seals which appear to have been harpooned.

The Neolithic culture and technology spread worldwide between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. With the new technologies of farming and pottery came basic forms of all the main fishing methods that are still used today.

Copper harpoons were known to the seafaring Harappans [Ray 2003, page 93] well into antiquity. [Allchin 1975, page 106] Early hunters in India include the Mincopie people, aboriginal inhabitants of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, who have used harpoons with long cords for fishing since early times. [Edgerton 2003, page 74]

Ancient history

The ancient river Nile was full of fish; fresh and dried fish were a staple food for much of the population. [PDFlink| [http://www.icsf.net/jsp/publication/samudra/pdf/english/issue_28/art01.pdf Fisheries history: Gift of the Nile] .] The Egyptians invented various implements and methods for fishing and these are clearly illustrated in tomb scenes, drawings, and papyrus documents. Simple reed boats served for fishing. Woven nets, weir baskets made from willow branches, harpoons and hook and line (the hooks having a length of between eight millimetres and eighteen centimetres) were all being used. By the 12th dynasty, metal hooks with barbs were being used. As is fairly common today, the fish were clubbed to death after capture. Nile perch, catfish and eels were among the most important fish. Some representations hint at fishing being pursued as a pastime.

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There are numerous references to fishing in ancient literature; in most cases, however, the descriptions of nets and fishing-gear do not go into detail, and the equipment is described in general terms. An early example from the Bible in Job : "Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?".

Fishing scenes are rarely represented in ancient Greek culture, a reflection of the low social status of fishing. There is a wine cup, dating from c. 500 BC, that shows a boy crouched on a rock with a fishing-rod in his right hand and a basket in his left. In the water below, a rounded object of the same material with an opening on the top. This has been identified as a fish-cage used for keeping live fish, or as a fish-trap. It is clearly not a net. This object is currently in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. [ [http://www.mfa.org/collections/search_art.asp?recview=true&id=153702&coll_keywords=fishing&coll_accession=&coll_name=&coll_artist=&coll_place=&coll_medium=&coll_culture=&coll_classification=&coll_credit=&coll_provenance=&coll_location=&coll_has_
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Oppian of Corycus, a Greek author wrote a major treatise on sea fishing, the "Halieulica" or "Halieutika", composed between 177 and 180. This is the earliest such work to have survived intact to the modern day. Oppian describes various means of fishing including the use of nets cast from boats, scoop nets held open by a hoop, spears and tridents, and various traps "which work while their masters sleep". Oppian's description of fishing with a "motionless" net is also very interesting:

: "The fishers set up very light nets of buoyant flax and wheel in a circle round about while they violently strike the surface of the sea with their oars and make a din with sweeping blow of poles. At the flashing of the swift oars and the noise the fish bound in terror and rush into the bosom of the net which stands at rest, thinking it to be a shelter: foolish fishes which, frightened by a noise, enter the gates of doom. Then the fishers on either side hasten with the ropes to draw the net ashore."

The Greek historian Polybius ("ca" 203 BC120 BC), in his Histories, describes hunting for swordfish by using a harpoon with a barbed and detachable head. [Polybius, [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plb.+34.3 "Fishing for Swordfish"] , "Histories" Book 34.3 (Evelyn S. Shuckburgh, translator). London, New York: Macmillan, 1889. Reprint Bloomington, 1962.]

Pictorial evidence of Roman fishing comes from mosaics which show fishing from boats with rod and line as well as nets. Various species such as conger, lobster, sea urchin, octopus and cuttlefish are illustrated. [ [http://museum.agropolis.fr/english/pages/expos/aliments/poissons/images/mosaique.htm Image of fishing illustrated in a Roman mosaic] .] In a parody of fishing, a type of gladiator called retiarius was armed with a trident and a casting-net. He would fight against the murmillo, who carried a short sword and a helmet with the image of a fish on the front.

The Greco-Roman sea god Neptune is depicted as wielding a fishing trident.

In India, the Pandyas, a classical Dravidian Tamil kingdom, were known for the pearl fishery as early as the 1st century BC. Their seaport Tuticorin was known for deep sea pearl fishing. The paravas, a Tamil caste centred in Tuticorin, developed a rich community because of their pearl trade, navigation knowledge and fisheries.

In Norse mythology the sea giantess Rán uses a fishing net to trap lost sailors.

The Moche people of ancient Peru depicted fisherman in their ceramics. [Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. "The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera." New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.]

From ancient representations and literature it is clear that fishing boats were typically small, lacking a mast or sail, and were only used close to the shore.

In traditional Chinese history, history begins with three semi-mystical and legendary individuals who taught the Chinese the arts of civilization around 2800�2600 BC: of these Fu Hsi was reputed to be the inventor of writing, hunting, trapping, and fishing.

almon in mythology

:"See also: Salmon in mythology"In Irish mythology, the hero Fionn mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna, gained powers of perception from a salmon. The young Fionn met the poet Finegas near the river Boyne and studied under him. Finegas had spent seven years trying to catch the salmon of knowledge which lived in a pool on the Boyne, for whoever ate the salmon would gain all the knowledge in the world. Eventually he caught it and told the boy to cook it for him. While cooking it Fionn burst a blister on the salmon's skin, burning his thumb, and instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, swallowing a piece of the salmon's skin. This imbued him with the salmon's wisdom. [Fenian Cycle attributed to Oisín]

In Norse mythology, when Loki, god of mischief and strife, tricked Hod the blind god into killing Baldr, god of beauty and light, Loki jumped into a river and transformed himself into a salmon in order to escape punishment from the other gods. When they held out a net to trap him he attempted to leap over it but was caught by Thor who grabbed him by the tail with his hand, and this is why the salmon's tail is tapered. [Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson]

Commercial fishing

Fish netting

:"See also: Gillnetting history"
Gillnetting began with First Nations fishermen using canoes and cedar fibre nets. They would attach stones to the bottom of the nets as weights, and pieces of wood to the top, to use as floats. This allowed the net to suspend straight up and down in the water. Each net would be suspended either from shore or between two boats. Native fishers in the Pacific Nortwest, Canada, and Alaska still commonly use gillnets in their fisheries for salmon and steelhead.

By around 1864, gillnetting had expanded to European, Japanese, and other international fisheries. The boats used by these fisherman were typically around convert|25|ft|m|0 long and powered by oars. Many of these boats also had small sails and were called "row-sail" boats. At the beginning of the 1900s, steam powered ships would haul these smaller boats to their fishing grounds and retrieve them at the end of each day. However, at this time gas powered boats were beginning to make their appearance, and by the 1930s, the row-sail boat had virtually disappeared.

In 1931, the first powered drum was created by Laurie Jarelainen. The drum is a circular device that is set to the side of the boat and draws in the nets. The powered drum allowed the nets to be drawn in much faster and along with the faster gas powered boats, fisherman were able to fish in areas they had previously been unable to go into, thereby revolutionizing the fishing industry.

During World War II, navigation and communication devices, as well as many other forms of maritime equipment (ex. depth-sounding and radar) were improved and made more compact. These devices became much more accessible to the average fisherman, thus making their range and mobility increasingly larger. It also served to make the industry much more competitive, as the fisherman were forced to invest more into their boats and equipment in order to stay up to date with the current technology.

The introduction of fine synthetic fibres such as nylon in the construction of fishing gear during the 1960s marked an expansion in the commercial use of gillnets. The new materials were cheaper and easier to handle, lasted longer and required less mainatenance than natural fibres. In addition, fibres such as nylon monofilaments become almost invisible in water, so nets made with synthetic twines generally caught greater numbers of fish than natural fibre nets used in comparable situations.

Nylon is highly resistant to abrasion, hence the netting has the potential to last for many years if it is not recovered. This ghost fishing is of environmental concern, however it is difficult to generalise about the longevity of ghost-fishing gillnets due to the varying environments in which they are used. Some researchers have found gill-nets to be still catching fish and crustaceans for over a year after lossref|Kaiser, while others have found lost nets to be destroyed by wave action within one monthref|Puente or overgrown with seaweeds, increasing their visibility and reducing their catching potential to such an extent that they became a microhabitat used by small fishesref|Erzini.

This type of net was heavily used by many Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese fishing fleets on the high seas in the 1980s to target tunas. Although highly selective with respect to size class of animals captured, gill nets are associated with high numbers of incidental captures of cetaceans, (whales and dolphins). In the Sri Lankan gill net fishery, one dolphin is caught for every 1.7-4.0 tonnes of tuna landedref|Hall. This compares poorly with the rate of one dolphin per 70 tonnes of tuna landed in the eastern Pacific purse seine tuna fishery. Gillnets were banned by the United Nations in 1993 in international waters, although their use is still permitted within convert|200|nmi|km|-2 of a coast.

Trawling

:"See also: Trawling history"In the Middle Ages, Brixham was the largest fishing port in the South-West, and at one time it was the greatest in England. Brixham is also famous for being the town where the fishing trawler was invented in the 19th century. These elegant wooden boats were and all over the world, influencing fishing fleets everywhere. Their distinctive sails inspired the song Red Sails in the Sunset which was written aboard a Brixham sailing trawler called the "Torbay Lass". Known as the "Mother of Deep-Sea Fisheries", its boats sailed all round the coasts and helped to establish the fishing industries of Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft. In the 1890s there were about 300 trawling vessels here, each owned by one man who was often the skipper of his own boat.

One of the biggest ports in England for trawlers was Hull in Yorkshire on England's north-east coast.

The largest fishing port in Europe from the 1970s onwards has been Peterhead in the North-East corner of Scotland. In its prime in the 1980s Peterhead had over 500 trawlers staying at sea for a week each trip. Peterhead has seen a significant decline in the number of vessels and the value of fish landed has been reduced due to several decades of overfishing which in turn has reduced quotas.

Cod trade

:"See also: Cod trade"One of the world’s longest lasting trade histories is the trade of dry cod from the Lofoten area to the southern parts of Europe, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The trade in cod started during the Viking period or before, has been going on for more than 1000 years and is still important.

Cod has been an important economic commodity in an international market since the Viking period (around 800 AD). Norwegians used dried cod during their travels and soon a dried cod market developed in southern Europe. This market has lasted for more than 1000 years, passing through periods of Black Death, wars and other crises and still is an important Norwegian fish trade. [cite journal | title = What Was the Viking Age and When did it Happen? A View from Orkney. | author = James Barrett, Roelf Beukens, Ian Simpson, Patrick Ashmore, Sandra Poaps and Jacqui Huntley | journal = Norwegian Archaeological Review | volume = 33(1) | pages = | year = 2000] The Portuguese since the 15th century have been fishing cod in the North Atlantic and clipfish is widely eaten and appreciated in Portugal. The Basques also played an important role in the cod trade and are believed to have found the Canadian fishing banks before the Colombus' discovery of America. The North American east coast developed in part due to the vast amount of cod, and many cities in the New England area spawned near cod fishing grounds.

Apart from the long history this particular trade also differs from most other trade of fish by the location of the fishing grounds, far from large populations and without any domestic market. The large cod fisheries along the coast of North Norway (and in particular close to the Lofoten islands) have been developed almost uniquely for export, depending on sea transport of stockfish over large distances. [cite journal | title = Norwegian fisheries Research. | author = G. Rolfsen | journal = FiskDir. Skr. Ser. HavUnders. | volume = 14(1) | pages = 36 | year = 1966] Since the introduction of salt, dried salt cod ('klippfisk' in Norwegian) has also been exported. The trade operations and the sea transport were by the end of the 14th century taken over by the Hanseatic League, Bergen being the most important port of trade. [cite journal | title = Norway and sea the shifting importance of marine resources through Norwegian history. | author = A. Holt-Jensen | journal = GeoJournal | volume = 10(4) | pages = | year = 1985]

William Pitt the Elder, criticizing the Treaty of Paris in Parliament, claimed that cod was "British gold"; and that it was folly to restore Newfoundland fishing rights to the French.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the New World, especially in Massachusetts and Newfoundland, cod became a major commodity, forming trade networks and cross-cultural exchanges. In the 20th century, Iceland re-emerged as a fishing power and entered the Cod Wars to gain control over the north Atlantic seas. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, cod fishing off the coast of Europe and America severely depleted cod stocks there which has since become a major political issue as the necessity of restricting catches to allow fish populations to recover has run up against opposition from the fishing industry and politicians reluctant to approve any measures that will result in job losses. The 2006 Northwest Atlantic cod quota is set at 23,000 tons representing half the available stocks, while it is set to 473,000 tons for the Northeast Atlantic cod.

The Pacific Cod is currently enjoying a strong global demand. The 2006 TAC for the Gulf of Alaska and Berning Sea Aleutian Island was set at 574 million pounds (260,360 tons).

Trepanging

:"See also: Trepanging history is the collection or harvesting of sea cucumbers, also called "trepang". One who does this activity is called a trepanger.

To supply the markets of Southern China, Muslim trepangers from Makassar, Indonesia traded with the Indigenous Australians of Arnhem Land from the early 1700s or before. This Macassan contact with Australia is the first recorded example of interaction between the inhabitants of the Australian continent and their Asian neighbours. MacKnight, CC (1976). "The Voyage to Marege: Macassan Trepangers in Northern Australia." Melbourne University Press.]

This contact had a major impact on the Indigenous Australians. The Macassans exchanged goods such as cloth, tobacco, knives, rice and alcohol for the right to trepang coastal waters and employ local labour. Macassan pidgin became a "lingua franca" along the north coast among different Indigenous Australian groups who were brought into greater contact with each other by the seafaring Macassan culture.

Remains of Macassan trepang processing plants from the 18th and 19th centuries can still be found at Australian locations such as Port Essington and Groote Eylandt, along with stands of tamarind trees (which are native to Madagascar and East Africa) introduced by the seafaring Muslims.

Recreational fishing

Fly fishing

:"See also: Fly fishing history"Many credit the first recorded use of an artificial fly to the Roman Claudius Aelianus near the end of the 2nd century. He described the practice of Macedonian anglers on the Astraeus River::"...they have planned a snare for the fish, and get the better of them by their fisherman's craft. . . . They fasten red . . . wool round a hook, and fit on to the wool two feathers which grow under a cock's wattles, and which in colour are like wax. Their rod is six feet long, and their line is the same length. Then they throw their snare, and the fish, attracted and maddened by the colour, comes straight at it, thinking from the pretty sight to gain a dainty mouthful; when, however, it opens its jaws, it is caught by the hook, and enjoys a bitter repast, a captive."

In his book "Fishing from the Earliest Times", however, William Radcliff (1921) gave the credit to Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis), born some two hundred years before Aelian, who wrote::"...Who has not seen the scarus rise, decoyed and killed by fraudful flies..."The last word, somewhat indistinct in the original, is either "mosco" (moss) or "musca" (fly) but catching fish with fraudulent moss seems unlikely.Fact|date=October 2007

Modern fly fishing is normally said to have originated on the fast, rocky rivers of Scotland and northern England. Other than a few fragmented references, however, little was written on fly fishing until "The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle" was published (1496) within "The Boke of St. Albans" attributed to Dame Juliana Berners. The book contains, along with instructions on rod, line and hook making, dressings for different flies to use at different times of the year. The first detailed writing about the sport comes in two chapters of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler, which were actually written by his friend Charles Cotton, and described the fishing in the Derbyshire Wye.

British fly-fishing continued to develop in the 19th Century, with the emergence of fly fishing clubs, along with the appearance of several books on the subject of fly tying and fly fishing techniques. In southern England, dry-fly fishing acquired an elitist reputation as the only acceptable method of fishing the slower, clearer rivers of the south such as the River Test and the other 'chalk streams' concentrated in Hampshire, Surrey, Dorset and Berkshire (see Southern England Chalk Formation for the geological specifics). The weeds found in these rivers tend to grow very close to the surface, and it was felt necessary to develop new techniques that would keep the fly and the line on the surface of the stream. These became the foundation of all later dry-fly developments. However, there was nothing to prevent the successful employment of wet flies on these chalk streams, as George E.M. Skues proved with his nymph and wet fly techniques. To the horror of dry-fly purists, Skues later wrote two books, "Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream", and "The Way of a Trout with a Fly", which greatly influenced the development of wet fly fishing. In northern England and Scotland, many anglers also favored wet-fly fishing, where the technique was more popular and widely practised than in southern England. One of Scotland’s leading proponents of the wet fly in the early-to-mid 19th century was W.C. Stewart, who published "The Practical Angler" in 1857.

In Scandinavia and the United States, attitudes toward methods of fly fishing were not nearly as rigidly defined, and both dry- and wet-fly fishing were soon adapted to the conditions of those countries.

Lines made of silk replaced those of horse hair and were heavy enough to be cast in the modern style. Cotton and his predecessors fished their flies with long rods, and light lines allowing the wind to do most of the work of getting the fly to the fish. The introduction of new woods to the manufacture of fly rods, first greenheart and then bamboo, made it possible to cast flies into the wind on silk lines. These early fly lines proved troublesome as they had to be coated with various dressings to make them float and needed to be taken off the reel and dried every four hours or so to prevent them from becoming waterlogged.

American rod builders such as Hiram Leonard developed superior techniques for making bamboo rods: thin strips were cut from the cane, milled into shape, and then glued together to form light, strong, hexagonal rods with a solid core that were superior to anything that preceded them.

Fly reels were soon improved, as well. At first they were rather mechanically simple; more or less a storage place for the fly line and backing. In order to tire the fish, anglers simply applied hand pressure to the rim of the revolving spool, known as 'palming' the rim. (See Fishing reel). In fact, many superb modern reels still use this simple design.

In the United States, fly fishermen are thought to be the first anglers to have used artificial lures for bass fishing. After pressing into service the fly patterns and tackle designed for trout and salmon to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, they began to adapt these patterns into specific bass flies. Fly fishermen seeking bass developed the spinner/fly lure and bass popper fly, which are still used today.Waterman, Charles F., "Black Bass and the Fly Rod", Stackpole Books (1993)]

In the late 19th century, American anglers, such as Theodore Gordon, in the Catskill Mountains of New York began using fly tackle to fish the region’s many brook trout-rich streams such as the Beaverkill and Willowemoc Creek. Many of these early American fly fishermen also developed new fly patterns and wrote extensively about their sport, increasing the popularity of fly fishing in the region and in the United States as a whole.Waterman, Charles F., "Black Bass and the Fly Rod", Stackpole Books (1993)] The Junction Pool in Roscoe, where the Willowemoc flows into the Beaver Kill, is the center of an almost ritual pilgrimage every April 1, when the season begins. Albert Bigelow Paine, a New England author, wrote about fly fishing in "The Tent Dwellers", a book about a three week trip he and a friend took to central Nova Scotia in 1908.

Participation in fly fishing peaked in the early 1920s in the eastern states of Maine and Vermont and in the Midwest in the spring creeks of Wisconsin. Along with deep sea fishing, Ernest Hemingway did much to popularize fly fishing through his works of fiction, including The Sun Also Rises. It was the development of inexpensive fiberglass rods, synthetic fly lines, and monofilament leaders, however, in the early 1950s, that revived the popularity of fly fishing, especially in the United States.

In recent years, interest in fly fishing has surged as baby boomers have discovered the sport. Movies such as Robert Redford's film "A River Runs Through It", starring Brad Pitt, cable fishing shows, and the emergence of a competitive fly casting circuit have also added to the sport's visibility.

ee also


* Fishing
* Overfishing
* History of whaling
* New Bedford Whaling Museum
* New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
* Macassan contact with Australia
* Scottish Fisheries Museum
* Munster pilchard fishery 1570-1750
* Oyster Injustice
* 1959 Escuminac Hurricane
* Eyemouth disaster
* Moray Firth fishing disaster
* Stotfield fishing disaster
* Harold Innis and the cod fishery
* Allan McLean

Notes

References

* Sahrhage, Dietrich and Lundbeck, Johannes (1992) "A History of Fishing." Springer. ISBN 978-0387553320
* Smith, Tim D (2002) Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries, Chapter 4, [http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=LVnWf6IEhcgC&pg=PA61&dq=FAO+%22Recreational+fishing%22&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0&sig=O3ZPqnHGWfLbNu_aRB7HBmq7Ftk "A history of fisheries and their science."] Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 063206482X

External links

* [http://www.mcdonald.cam.ac.uk/projects/Medieval_Fishing/ Medieval Origins of Commercial Sea Fishing Project]
* [http://www.carp-lakes.co.uk/Origins of French Carp Fishing]


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